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Air industry recovering momentum despite uncertainty: IATA

Air industry recovering momentum despite uncertainty: IATA

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“Airlines are resilient,” says IATA director general Willie Walsh.

The International Air Transport Association said on Monday that air passengers are expected to reach 83 percent of pre-pandemic levels this year and that the aviation industry’s profits are “within reach” in 2023.

IATA said in an advanced industry outlook ahead of its annual general meeting in Doha that industry losses are expected to drop to $9.7 billion this year, $137.7 billion in 2020, and a “huge improvement” from $42.1 billion in 2021.

“Airlines are resilient. People are flying in greater numbers. And cargo is performing well against the backdrop of growing economic uncertainty,” the document quoted IATA Director General Willie Walsh as saying.

With passenger numbers falling by 60 per cent in 2020 and the remaining 50 per cent in 2021, the aviation industry was sent off by the pandemic. The airlines lost about $200 billion in two years.

While some firms in the sector went bankrupt, others – often backed by states – have emerged from the pandemic with profits.

IATA said industry-wide profitability “appears to be within reach” in 2023, adding that North American Airlines was expected to return a profit of $8.8 billion this year.

It said more than 1,200 aircraft are expected to be delivered in 2022, while cargo volumes should reach a record 68.4 million tonnes “despite economic challenges”.

According to the International Air Transport Association, the chart on global air passenger volume per month since 2017 (revenue based on passenger kilometres), and shared by region in 2021.

“Strong demand growth, lifting of travel restrictions in most markets, low unemployment in most countries, and expanded personal savings are fueling a resurgence in demand, with passenger numbers reaching 83 percent of pre-pandemic levels in 2022, Said IATA.

Airlines, desperate to put the coronavirus pandemic behind them, proceed in talks with a possible heat crunch and strike in Doha that could threaten their recovery.

While business seems to be coming back to life, representatives of the aviation sector meeting until Tuesday in Qatar have a packed agenda with several geopolitical crises, including war in Ukraine and the environment.

Cracks are already visible in the sector’s recovery, though industry figures remain optimistic about the future despite the issues.

Over the past few weeks, delays and cancellations at airports due to staff shortages and strikes for better pay have wreaked havoc on passengers.

The problems stem from the pandemic when airlines and airports laid off thousands of workers during their worst crisis. Now they are scrambling for the employees.

Also reflecting permanent disruption, the IATA was forced to move its annual general meeting from Shanghai to Qatar as China grapples with the pandemic.

The global consortium represents 290 airlines, which account for 83 percent of worldwide air travel.

Troubles rising for airlines despite recovery from pandemic

© 2022 AFP

Citation: The pace of recovery in the air industry despite the uncertainty: IATA (2022, 20 June) Obtained on 20 June 2022

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